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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  July 4, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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not just in intellect or national interest, but in the moment. he or she will have to look him in the eye and take him down face-to-face, matching him point for point, hopefully with the added weapon of the truth. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. ♪ >> tonight on "all in." >> regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey. i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story, it is an excuse. >> while the president makes the case against himself -- >> but i watched his interview, i read the press accounts of his conversations. i take the president at his word that i was fired because of the russia investigation. >> tonight, the reporting that fuels our knowledge of the investigation. >> breaking news tonight. a blockbuster report from the "new york times." nbc news reporting tonight, "the washington post" explosive report that the president of the united states is currently under a criminal investigation for the obstruction of justice. >> how america learns about this
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major scandal as the white house shrinks from public scrutiny. >> sean! sean! "all in" starts right now. ♪ >> good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. this president tells so many lies so often that news organizations are now employing entire teams of fact checkers to document them for posterity. and because it is so hard to get the simple and most basic truth from the administration, much of what we now know only came to light in spite of the white house. take for instance the saga of michael flynn. the first inkling there was something sketchy about the trump foreign policy adviser and his relationship with russia came a year ago through republican national convention when yahoo! news chief investigative correspondent michael isikoff pressed flynn on a trip he took to moscow for the 10th anniversary of r.t. >> were you paid for that event? >> you would have to ask the
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folks i went over there to -- >> no, i'm asking you. you would know if you were paid. >> yeah, i went over there as a speaking event. it was a speaking event. >> then one week before the inauguration, david ignatius of the "washington post" reported the very same day president obama sanctioned russia for interfering in the election according to a u.s. governor officials flynn phoned sergey kislyak several times. what did he say or undercut sanctions. the white house denied it. they went on national television to say flynn had not talked sanctions. hours after michael flynn was sworn in as national security adviser, the "wall street journal" reported counter intelligence agents were investigating his communications with russia. a few weeks later "the washington post" said contrary to the white house denials, he did in fact discuss u.s. sanctions. asked about it, the president pled ignorance. >> reporting that he talked to
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the ambassador of russia before you were -- >> i haven't seen that. i'll look into that. >> then the final hammer. "the washington post" reported the justice department warned the white house weeks before that flynn wasn't telling the truth and could therefore be vulnerable to russian black mail. hours after that report broke flynn was fired. the administration did nothing, despite the fact they knew it, until details of flynn's contact with russia became public. public scrutiny played a role a few months later when president trump decided to fire comey while his campaign was under investigation. and once again, the country only found out what was actually going on through the news media. >> absolutely explosive news out of washington tonight. the president of the united states firing the man who is leading the investigation into possible collusion between the government of russia and his own presidential campaign. after the news broke this afternoon, the "new york times" michael schmidt reported the
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white house and department of justice had been working on firing comey since at least last week, adding that attorney general jeff sessions had been working to come up with reasons. schmidt also reporting comey only learned of his firing as he addressed fbi employees in l.a. when tv screens in the background flashed news of the firing. according to "the washington post" report based on interviews with 30 sources, comey, trump figured, was using the russia probe to become a martyr, to a president obsessed with loyalty, according to "new york times," comey was a rogue operator who could not be trusted as the fbi investigated russian ties to his campaign. in an interview with lester holt today the president himself explicitly linked comey's firing to the russia investigation. >> when i decided to do it, i said to myself, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story, it is an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that
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they should have won. >> the "new york times" reporting that when the president met with russian officials in the oval office last week, the president told the russian officials, "i just fired the head of the fbi, he was crazy, a real nut job. i faced great pressure because of russia, that's taken off." >> i take the president at his word that i was fired because of the russia investigation. something about the way i was conducting it the president felt created pressure on him he wanted to relieve. but i watched his interview, i read the press accounts of his conversations, so i take him at his word there. >> we had a very nice dinner, and at that time he told me, "you are not under investigation," which i knew anyway. >> we have some breaking news about that dinner that donald trump had with now-former fbi director james comey. "new york times" citing conversations comey had with associates report the dinner began with small talk but the president turned the conversation to whether mr. comey would pledge his loyalty to him. breaking news tonight, a blockbuster report from the "new york times."
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since confirmed by nbc news, that the president of the united states asked then-fbi director james comey to end the bureau's investigation of michael flynn according to a memo written by comey. we have absolutely massive breaking news tonight. "the washington post" reporting that special counsel robert mueller is now investigating the president of the united states for possible obstruction of justice. we here have lost count with the number of breaking news alert about the president and the obstruction and russia investigation and not even six months into this administration. joining me joy reid, nicholas confessori, jason johnson, politics editor, and from washington d.c., michael isikoff, and michael schmidt. michael in d.c., let me start with you. michael, you are a veteran investigation, i remember reading your report, the bush administration broke important stories and have been doing it
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for a while. i want to get a sense of context for comparison. it is always hard to report on power. it is always hard to report with anonymous sources. it seems like something different with this administration because the stories are so explosive and the credibility of the official voices are so low, it really feels like you're groping around a room blind. is that how you feel? does it feel different than other administrations? >> well, it is hard to say. i mean first of all we have the advantage of president trump's constant tweets, which have done as much to drive this investigation and give us the inner thinking of the president, which is something we've never had before. >> we're like patched into his brain basically. >> yeah, right. and so if you think of all of the sort of pivot points you're highlighting there, the firing
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of comey, the asking him to shut down the investigation, much of this sort of generates out of actions he's taken, interviews he's given and tweets he's made. so i think -- >> that's a good point. >> -- actually an asset we've had. but in terms of getting to the bottom of the real story and the facts, yeah, there's so much we don't know. you know, so much we have yet to learn. >> michael schmidt, it also seems to me that you're tiptoeing through a land mine, particularly some of the reporting you have done. you have got anonymous sources, former and current senior officials -- obviously they're not going on the record. if you get it wrong you have given ammunition to a president who says the reporting on this story in particular is a hoax and conspiracy to bring him down. it does seem like every day you are taking your journalistic life in your hands in that respect. >> i think that's true. one of the biggest difficulties
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is the fact that so much of this information is classified. it is also very confusing stuff. it is stuff about meetings between trump associates in russia, it is about things that russia did to the united states. these are complex things that even if they were on the record would be difficult for us to unpack on the reporting side, and then on the explaining side to the reader. so in many ways you're sort of on a high wire here where you are, you know, trying to find out about classified information from folks who don't want to talk on the record about it, and it can be very difficult and very challenging. to your point, the partisan flames on this story are very fierce. so any story that you do will be seen certainly by one side, you know, differently than the other, and that can really, really engulf things. >> i want to talk about sort of process here, because i think one of the things that i've found astounding about watching
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all of this develop is when you're a reporter, a, you're skeptical of people in power, right? you get lied to all the time. i remember the first time i got lied to by an alderman, he looked me in the face and lied. i was like, he just lied to me. it is a radicalizing, important moment in the trajectory of being a reporter, right? you always care it carry it with you. at the same time, you do develop relationships of trust with individuals where you can go to them and say, am i wrong, where are we on this? that relationship for trust is so gone here, seriously, that everyone is floating in a dark ocean where there's nothing to anchor or moor you against the crazy information. >> it is breaking down for a few reasons, right? one is that the normal information process in the white house is breaking down. >> totally. >> his own staff isn't always in the loop on things. >> which is hugely important. even if you develop a relationship of trust with someone in the white house, they may not know anything. >> right. and the second thing is there's
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so much factionalism in the white house people are constantly selling stories against their own inside the white house. this is not unusual, but it is to this extent. >> weaponized. >> finally you have the overlay of the fact people inside the bureaucracy are simply not trustful of people in charge of the bureaucracy, so there's a relationship between the press and people deep inside as basically an alternative to the normal oversight process that has broken down. >> not even just not trustful. you talk to enough people and you will find people find elements of the administration to be dangerous. a lot of the leaks you are getting -- >> people in the bureaucracy. >> exactly. you could not normally drag information out of these quarters of the government, but they see their own administration as dangerous so they're giving information. >> which is a great irony. it is more secretive that most any other, but on the other hand we know more than ever before.
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>> the signal to noise ratio is so high. >> on one hand we know who hates each other presumably. we've learned when there's been various blowups, people screaming at each other. but there's also -- there's both kind of -- there's certain people who speak without regard to the truth and others who are so deliberately manipulative of the truth. you see reporting about this, where they will put things out there that aren't true either just for fun or to discredit reporters when they report on something incorrectly. so there's a sense everyone is walking through a hall of mirrors all the time, right? and this kind of war on the nature of empirical reality is something that you've seen with elements of the right for, you know, decades and which has now reached this kind of -- >> well, you made an important point about this sort of booby trapping. i think it is an important thing to understand here, intentional intents to get false stories printed. i'm going to talk about that. we're going to talk about governing in the dark, how this
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built for business. secrecy is now the standard operating procedure in the trump administration. the white house visitors log to president's tax returns kept under lock and key. the white house press briefings have become less frequent and televised. since june, held one per week, down from several a week in previous months. when reporters complain, the administration stone walls. >> can you tell us why you turned the cameras off? why are they off. >> it is a legitimate question. you are a taxpayer funded. spokesman for the united states
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government. can you give us an explanation as to why the cameras are off. >> can we get this out of the way? can we address the cameras issue. >> yeah, some days we will have them, some days they won't. the president is going to speak today from the rose garden. i want the president's voice to carry the day. look, this is nothing inconsistent from what we said from day one. >> still with me. joy reid, >> miguel goldberg and michael isikoff and michael schmidt. jason, things have happened, officials channels have been squeezed. state department, which is a huge deal for the rest of the world, daily briefing where the indonesian press and saudi press, that's been put on the shelf. those briefings -- all of these official modes of communication squeezed. it is all back channel stuff, and then that back channel stuff is easier to booby trap or weaponize and leave people in a false direction. >> we used to think the worse situation was a house of card, ail take a drink when you're right.
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you figure it is, okay, it is going to be hard to get information but the information is legitimate. when you have different factions in the white house who are trying to make you look bad -- >> right. >> -- reporters have to worry about being weaponized against who they work for. >> that's right. >> it is like, i'm going to use you to take down the "new york times," i'm going to use you to take down cnn. it is not a verbal war against the press. it is an actual intellectual war against the press by the administration. >> michael schmidt, as an investigative reporter do you feel you have found yourself amidst bobby traps essentially? >> i don't think it is that much -- i'm not covering the white house itself on a day-to-day basis. we are trying to get at the story of the mueller investigation and what mueller has found and are there connections between trump associates and russia. that's, you know, sort of an old school, you know, classified information that we're going at, but going at as hard as we can. to your point, the this on the other side of the argument is the president has done a lot of interviews, i don't have the
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number in front of me, but my guess is he's probably done more interviews in the first several months of his time in the office than any other president, and that's been interesting because you get to see, as you pointed out, through the tweets sort of an unvarnished, you know, president's thoughts out there on a repeated basis. that's been interesting. >> that's true, but there's been a bit of a change. the president has traditionally been extremely accessible. during the campaign probably the most accessible who ever campaigned in the modern era, absolutely. no question about that. calling in to show after show. he has only given one full press conference. he has done two and twos with foreign leaders. and, michael isikoff, he has given interviews, but since the lester holt interview where he basically admitted the reason why he fired james comey, it's really only been fox he has given interviews to. there's been a real change in the last bit of time about the accessibility of the president himself. >> no, i would agree with that. you know, a lot of these
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interviews are fox interviews where he doesn't get challenged, where he doesn't get push-back. the fact that there's been only one press conference, and not for a while, means that opportunities to ask him really tough, important questions, you know, we haven't had. i should also just point out that some of the rhetoric here is -- is pretty disturbing. i remember being at the cpac conference back in february where he was using the enemy of the people line, which, you know, is a line that has historical resonance and is, you know, to demonize the press as the enemy of the people. it is something that is rhetoric i don't think we've seen before and is noteworthy. >> what do you think about that, michael schmidt? >> well, he has demonized the press, but it is interesting how
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much time he spends obsessing about the press. >> it is a central paradox, that there's a great -- someone tweeted this the other day, someone noted that he went out and gave a speech where he talked about how terrible the press was -- i think it was in iowa, he was doing one of the campaign rallies -- and went back and talked off the record to the pool for 30 minutes, which is sort of donald trump's relationship to the media in a nutshell, michael. >> so is he using the press as a diversion to demonize the press, and then he's obsessing about the press? it seems like he spends so much of his morning and maybe the rest of his day, you know, looking at the morning shows, tweeting about them, criticizing our coverage, demonizing us. it is interesting how much time and energy he has focused on this one issue. if you talk to white house officials they will tell you it is because of the russia stuff, they see the russia stuff as a cloud and he's trying to push back on that. but at the same time his criticisms in the media go far beyond that.
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>> well, and he's also -- i mean as a biographical matter about the man, he has been obsessed with the press and press coverage from the moment that he first started appearing on the tabloids. >> sort of you hate the thing you love. if you think about what donald trump has been successful in his life, it hasn't been real estate, it hasn't been casinos, it's been working the new york media. the new york tabloid press was the thing he was good about, getting them to write about donald trump, who donald trump is dating, planting stories, using a fake name and pretending to be his own publicist to get them to talk about donald trump, marvel at donald trump. his one success has been self-promotion. he now finds himself in a position where he cannot get the press to talk about him or shine him in a blowing light, and he is clearly frustrated about it. >> his biographer once reported he saved a clipping from the first time he made the papers when he was actually a kid, he was quoted in a paper and he saved it. he remembered that moment and
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the power of the moment. as joy says, he finds his usual relationship has been short circuited and he craves validation from the press and he has all his life and he is not getting it. >> that's one of the reasons it leads to the leaks he's complaining about. we see report after report of people in the white house say, he won't listen to us, we have to leak it so he will pay attention. >> right. michael isikoff and michael schmidt, thank you for your time tonight. appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. thank you. >> still ahead, a concrete reminder of why it is important to ask the president the hard questions. the most significant interview of donald trump's young presidency next. noo introducing the easiest way to get gillette blades text "blades" to gillette on demand text to reorder blades with gillette on demand... ...and get $3 off your first order
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it had been in the works for a while. the first interview between the anchor of "nbc nightly news," the president of the united states, and then two days before the scheduled sit-down, president trump fired his fbi director. while the fbi was actively investigating his campaign. suddenly the interview became the interview. instead of sticking to the line from his own white house that comey was fired because the brand-new deputy attorney general rod rosenstein recommended it, the president, president trump told lester holt that firing the fbi director was his idea and he inadvertently revealed the real reason he did it. >> look, he's a showboat, he's a grandstander. the fbi has been in turmoil. you know that, i know that, everybody knows that. you take a look at the fbi a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. it hasn't recovered from that. >> monday you met with the deputy attorney general rod
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rosenstein. >> right. >> did you ask for a recommendation? >> what i did is i was going to fire comey, my decision. it was not -- >> you had made the decision before they came in the room? >> i was going to fire comey. there's no good time to do it, by the way. >> but in your letter you said i accepted their recommendation. >> well, they also -- >> you had already made the decision? >> i was going to fire regardless of recommendation. he made a recommendation. he's highly respect, very good guy, very smart guy. the democrats like him, the republicans like him. he had made a recommendation. but regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story, it is an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won, and the reason they should have won it is the electoral
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college is almost impossible for a republican to win, it is very hard because you start off at such a disadvantage. so everybody was thinking they should have won the election. this was an excuse for having lost an election. >> but are you angry with mr. comey because of his russia investigation? >> i just want somebody that's competent. i am a big fan of the fbi. i love the fbi. >> were you a fan of him taking up that investigation? >> about the hillary clinton investigation? >> now, about the russia investigation and possible links between -- >> no, look, let me tell you, as far as i'm concerned i want that thing to be absolutely done properly. when i did this now, i said, i probably maybe will confuse people, maybe i'll expand that -- you know, i'll lengthen the time because it should be over with. in my opinion, it should have been over a long time ago because all it is is an excuse. but i said to myself, i meet even lengthen out the investigation, but i have to do the right thing for the american people. he's the wrong man for that position.
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>> let me ask you about your termination letter to mr. comey. you write, "i greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that i am not under investigation." why did you put that in there? >> because he told me that. i mean he told me that. >> he told you that you weren't under investigation regarding the russia investigation? >> i heard that from others, i heard -- >> was it in a phone call, did you meet face to face? >> i had dinner with him. because he wanted to stay on. we ha nice dinner at the white house. >> >> he asked to stay on. >> the dinner was arrange i think he asked for the dinner. he wanted to stay on as the fbi head. i said i'll consider, we'll see what happens. we had a nice dinner and at that time he told me, you're not under investigation, which i knew anyway. >> that was one meeting. what were the other two? >> first of all, when you're under investigation you're given all sorts of documents. i knew i wasn't under. i heard it was stated at the committee, some committee level that i wasn't, number one. >> but that didn't come directly from him. >> then during the phone call he said it and during another phone call he said it.
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said it once at dinner and twice during phone calls. >> did you call him? >> in one case i called him, in one case he called me. >> did you ask him, am i under investigation? >> i asked him, yes. i said, if it is possible would you let me know am i under investigation? he said, you are not under investigation. >> but he's given sworn testimony that there's an ongoing investigation into the trump campaign and possible collusion with the russian government. >> right. >> you were the center piece of the trump campaign. was he being truthful when he says you weren't under investigation? >> i know i'm not under investigation, me personally. i'm not talking about campaigns or anything else. i know i'm not under investigation. >> did you ask him to drop the investigation? >> no, never. >> did anyone from the white house -- >> no, in fact i want it speeded up. >> did anyone from the white house ask him to end the investigation? >> no. why would they do that? >> any surrogates on behalf of
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the white house? >> no, not that i know of. look, i want to find out if there was a problem having to do with russia, or by the way anybody else, any other country, and i want that to be so strong and so good, and i want it to happen. >> we should note before going forward that a lot of what the president said in that interview simply is not true or has been contested by james comey under oath. but up next, how the fallout from that interview is still reverberating through the russian investigation and why the president hasn't sat down with anyone who isn't from the conservative media since that interview. we will be right back. mom,
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director because of the russia investigation or at the very least had it in his mind when he did. joining me from washington d.c., jennifer rubin, olivia nuzzi, still with me at the table joy reed, jason johnson and michelle goldberg. nick confessori. jennifer, that interview was a turning point because we have not had an interview with the president with a non- -- i think this is correct, with a not fox outlet since then, not conservative, sort of friendly outlet since then. i think there's an awareness around the people around him, that they kind of can't let him go out there and talk anymore because there are actual legal ramifications at this point. >> right, and it is not even that they will talk to anyone at fox. they won't talk to chris wallace, for example. they won't talk to brit baer who are real news people. he is doing softball interviews going on again and again "fox and friends"" and the dialogue goes, "aren't i swell" and they say, "yes, you're swell."
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that's all he can handle at this point. i think it's two things. one, i think there's the legal ramification and, two, he doesn't know what he is talking about. someone is going to ask him a question, what's in the health care bill. >> that's right. >> what's in the budget, why are you doing x, y and z, and he doesn't have an answer. so he can't go on a real interview. >> that second point, olivia, is the thing that i'm really obsessed with in the midst of this huge domestic priority, is one-sixth of the american economy is health care, an effort to reshape a huge part of it, an implication for tens of millions of americans. i want the president to do a press conference on health care and say, the ground rules are no russia questions, none of that, we're just talking health care, stay on the substance of health care. >> right. >> basically i think everybody knows, everyone on the hill, republican and democrat, admit he would be totally incapable of doing that in any way. >> right. what could go wrong if he did it from the white house's perspective? i think jennifer is absolutely right. he doesn't have the knowledge
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about, you know, what his own administration is doing to do an interview like that. i don't know whether or not he's aware of it. it is very difficult always to guess what the president is thinking, but i do -- it is very interesting because during the campaign, of course, he did do many television interviews, he did talk or attempt to talk about policy. but the difference is now he's walked himself into all of these different land mines and there are legal ramifications if he says something very wrong. so i think the white house has to be much, much more cautious than the campaign was. >> and there's also a difference between the campaign and being president because now there's an actual bill. >> right. >> there's so much hand waving you can do on the campaign trail. that you don't have to choose, but the bill tax will be the bill tax. >> the thing with trump is he enjoys doing interviews. he enjoys feeling important and having cameras on him, so it is probably difficult for him to stay away from doing that. >> absolutely. >> he doesn't have the discipline to do it right now and i'm sure it is difficult for his team to convey to him it is not in his best interests.
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>> during the campaign he would say, "nobody's going to have their medicare cut, we're going to protect medicaid, we're going to protect all of these social programs, we're going to have lower premiums, lower deductibles." >> a great plan for everyone. >> everyone gets covered. >> it didn't have to have any relation to a tangible bill, tangible numbers. now that there's a piece of legislation he has to answer for, that's completely incompatible with everything he promised the country, he can't talk about that. >> i so desperately want him to. i honestly as a citizen, as a journalist, as an american, i want nothing more right now -- >> he'd have to read it first. i don't think he has done it. >> it is a sign of how low standards have sunk. >> that's right. >> it is hard for everybody to keep in their minds all the time how much we've lost as a country in these last few months. but one of the things we have
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lost is any expectation that the president would have even a glancing familiarity with the policy. >> that's right. >> imagine a functioning administration on communications. on earth to president rubio is making the rounds of the sunday shows, making the case for obamacare repeal, his tweets are about obamacare repeal. he is working closely with the senate, their messages are all coordinated. that is how it normally works. >> right. >> but at the same time though, if there was anything popular about obamacare repeal, trust me, donald trump would be out there selling it. i think the problem is that donald trump only knows how to cheer lead for things people already like. you know, he knows how to cheer lead -- and for himself. by the way, this is not even his bill. this is donald trump making agreements to become president of the united states to get the republicans behind him. he agreed to give the right that wants to repeal obamacare, that was part of his stump speech, he agreed to do it. this is something mitch mcconnell and paul ryan have been dreaming about their whole lives, getting rid of the social
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safety net. do you think marco rubio would sell it better than donald trump? it is an unpopular thing. donald trump doesn't do -- >> olivia. >> americans would still not want to lose their health care. trust me. >> i disagree. i think it is more the fact that donald trump is disinterested in policy for the most part. it is not as fun to talk about obamacare on twitter as it is to -- as it is to insult people or talk about television or whatever it is that he's thinking about. so i think maybe it is about his being unpopular, but also about the fact he doesn't care about the business of governing. >> jennifer, that's the thing that's been so evident throughout, right? i mean there is a certain level -- i mean politicians vary on this. i have to say. there are politicians who don't know policy at all, some know it quite well. i remember a moment actually in the republican primary debate when there was a battle about defunding planned parenthood when all of the governors were like, oh, wow, they know what they're talking about because they were in the weeds of how the funding works for their state and they can get into it, and donald trump is standing up there looking back and forth.
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ultimately you wonder, i guess, how long you can skate on this, right? like is there some time that you have to kind of -- how long can they hide him, i guess? >> yeah. i think the time is about a month when the president is still going around and announcing cabinet positions. now they have to keep him under wraps, which is bizarre. that's not how our democracy is supposed to work. it is not how a president is supposed to put forth his agenda. to joy's point, i think there's a lot of it, that the bill is incredibly bad, but it is a also a function of him. he doesn't know what's in it. he has no priorities. >> right. >> he has no bottom lines. so they put together this mish mosh of stuff that no one likes. even marco rubio couldn't sell it. i think, however, it is beginning finally to erode his base. you see his poll numbers coming down now, across the board in the mid 30s. we're getting down to blood relatives and staff here, all but the completely cultist following has pretty much
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woken up. >> that's true, although the aggregate numbers are in the 37, 38%, which is, you know -- >> depressing. >> yeah. but it's also like -- but he won with 44.5% of the vote. so i mean it is not an outside the ballpark of people who voted for him. up next, one branch of the news media has escaped the president's fake news label. how the right wing is covering president trump, next. the opioid my doctor prescribed for my chronic back pain backed me up- big time. before movantik, i tried to treat it myself.
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president trump has wrapped up his intense nine-day oversees -- overseas international voyage that by all accounts was a home run. our commander in chief, the pillar of strength and a true advocate for america. >> joining me now jennifer rubin -- still with me, jennifer reuben, joy reid, michelle goldberg, jason johnson, olivia nuzzi. i have been fascinated how the
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media has dealt with in the past month or so, and one of the things i find interesting is the fact while the country has been -- you know, this health care bill recently has consumed, they want nothing to do with it. it is really astounding when you think about it. eight years of repeal and replace, tea party rallies -- let me just say, i have talked to conservative citizens, just random people who really do know a lot about obamacare. they have critiques of it that are quite sophisticated and have thought a lot about it and really, you know, dislike it, and here it is, the moment, the crowning achievement, victory, at the precipice of the grand, epic win and it's silence. it is so fascinating. jennifer, i want to you ask as someone who sort of comes from the world of conservatism, as an entity, like what is that about? >> i think it is two things. one is it is not going well. so if they can't say anything nice, they change the topic. >> yeah, right. >> these people are cheerleaders. by the way, by right wing media, i think we should be specific,
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we're talking about the fox hosts, we are talking about some of these blogs. there are conservative outlets, "the weekly standard" for example, has done some excellent reporting. it is not every conservative. >> i want to be clear. this is true. you have people at the weekly standard, the washington examiner, phil klein is a good health care reporter and all of these people are writing about it. if you go to their web sites, it is not leading, it is not dominating. i will say i lived through this on the other side at the nation magazine as a washington editor on the affordable care act, and that fight was at the top of the page. no one was burying the health care fight. people were really, really invested in that. >> you know, there are two things. >> continue. >> there are two things. one is that it is not going well. the other is the not so secret truth is a lot of these very virulently anti-government people don't understand it, don't know what's in it, don't know what it means. this is what happens when you become so antagonistic towards
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government, you don't know what is going on, you don't have facility of the information, so you go on to something you know, which is screaming at the liberal leaks. that's really a statement on the state of covnservativism. >> there's an element of that face here in that some of the conservative goals are, for example, higher deductibles. a lot of people who do health care policy who believe higher deductibles will make people get less -- >> skin in the game, literally. >> they will use less health care, they will be more -- >> judicious. >> right, approach it as consumers. that it will drive costs down. nobody wants to make a public case for higher deductibles, which is part of this plan, particularly when they've been complaining about high deductibles in obamacare for the last eight years. >> and this goes to what we were talking about with trump and his inability, whether it is rubio or not, he can't sell it or explain it. he's your superstar but you have to hide him on defense, and that's what happens every single time. they know their biggest name can't explain their policy.
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>> something else is happening, which i think is about power and perceptions of power. here is a movement that controls all branches of government. there are five appointed, republican-appointed supreme court justices, they have majorities in both houses and majorities in both houses and the white house. they're running things, and i will click over to fox and i will watch a fox news host leading their show interviewing a 19-year-old freshman, and i think to myself, you guys, you have it, you're running the country. >> you have to remember -- >> the story about obamas on vacation. >> exactly. >> that is a point. >> i think the point is that it wasn't about obamacare. the fact is it is easier for them to be the opposition, for them to be, you know, arguing in favor of donald trump against somebody else, but they don't have hillary clinton right now. so instead they're going to talk about cnn, they're going to talk about msnbc, they're going to talk about the liberal media because that's donald trump's
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enemy right now because there are no others. they can't talk about something extremely unpopular that doesn't make it seem donald trump is winning. >> and also when barack obama is the face of health care, of course it is easy to demonize it is an obama thing, but it is easier to go to war to expand health care, to make it an open fight that you're proud of, because i want to give more people health care. this is a fundamental fight that the bottom line is we want fewer people to have medicaid. that is 72 million people, we want to take medicaid from them. we want to turn it into a block grant. the actual policies that the conservatives have run on all of these decades are unpopular, but they've been able to make donald trump more popular when in opposition to a democrat. >> i will say this. one of the amazing things about where we stand is that the one person who really figured this out more than anyone else is donald trump. >> is donald trump, exactly. >> there was no constituency among paul ryanism, and deviated and here we are. much more on the president who
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be the you who talks to your dermatologist about stelara®. what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look and say see once again the president is right and everybody else is fake media and everybody in this room is trying to do their job. >> i just -- i disagree. first of all if anything has been inflamed, it's the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media. >> still with me, my panel. we're talking about a conservative media and trump and the press era.
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it's true that he's replaced, both he and the conservative media have replaced hillary clinton, who was the foil during the campaign with the media. this is a clear substitution. and what i find so fascinating is the desire to feel like you are disempowered and the victim. people that really do run the country. the man is the most powerful man in the world. he can literally end human life on the planet in about a ten-minute sequence. it's not a hyperbolic, this is the power that this man has. the idea that you're still even with this power besieged and what that -- because i think this emotional space is a key part to understanding the whole era. >> that emotional space is where he connect to all of these people. >> absolutely. >> don't share his life experiences but share his sense of being looked down on and sneer sneered at and not validated by the "the new york times" and the mainstream media. >> sometimes i should say correctly. i want to be clear about this.
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>> some of his follows, not in the case of donald trump. >> that's what i'm saying. >> and donald trump's resentments against the media are much more personal and less ideological. but there's a demand for the media that reflects themselves back the way they want to be seen. >> the emotional fuel is so powerful. >> donald trump strikes me as a guy who listened to rush limbaugh for a long time and watched fox and observed the messages. >> which is why he sounds like him. >> white people felt that they were no longer valuable, that the civil rights movement was elevated, black people are able to derive this nobility from victimhood in terms of civil rights and voting rights. they can never derive. when are we going to be the noble people. >> the key part of the right, for 30 or 40 years has always been the establishment is
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liberal, the establishment is against them and they are marginal as they have to take back power. they confront the power of what do you do when you've won. every institution and high point 'em battlement of the economy except for the "the new york times." and they have to make war on the only people left and that's the media. >> this goes back 15 or 20 years. i think it's nihilism. i think there's a belief on many people that america is done. it doesn't matter. we've been soiled. we had the black president for two years. we've got too many liberals, lbgt people. they don't want things to change. they want to go down swinging. he's saying if we're losing this country at least we're going to punch some people on the way out. >> there's some universality here. people do like to feel that they're the noble victim in an unfair fight. people go for that. when you complain about the official during a baseball game like.
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you have giving into that same feeling that is being played out in large which is like that human impulse of i'm screwed, it's not fair. that's a universal human impulse we all have. i don't think it's nihilism. what i think is people generally, huge swaths of the people feel disrespected. we can argue about whether it's justified or not and obviously what the hierarchies are of american society. clear to me. but the feeling of it is that is really there and that's the core that's driving it all. >> and also i mean i don't -- i would disagree that they're nilistic about the country as a whole but they're nilistic about the universality of truth. that used to be the conservative principle. the idea that truth is anything but a function of pow are. and people are trying to claim that these numbers don't add up are trying to sell a liberal narrative.
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>> i was told that it was voodoo economics. joy, nicolas, michelle and jason johnson, thank you so much. that is all in for this evening. the rachel maddow starts right now. pop quiz. how many people have held the position of president of the united states? how many people have had that job? if you answered 45, it is understandable that you would answer that way. everybody, including our current president calls donald trump the 45th president of the united states. but you know what? if we're counting him as 45, technically that means we're counting grover cleveland twice because he was the 22nd and 24th president of the united states. and i'm sure that grover cleveland loves to be counted twice. but if we're talking about individual people, only 44 people including the current president have actually held that job.

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